Postmenopausal women with a history of irregular menses and elevated androgen measurements at high risk for worsening cardiovascular event-free survival: Results from the National Institutes of Health - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute sponsored women's ischemia syndrome evaluation

Academic Article


  • Background: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a greater clustering of cardiac risk factors. However, the link between PCOS and cardiovascular (CV) disease is incompletely described. Objective: The aim of this analysis was to evaluate the risk of CV events in 390 postmenopausal women enrolled in the National Institutes of Health-National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH-NHLBI) sponsored Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) study according to clinical features of PCOS. Methods: A total of 104 women had clinical features of PCOS defined by a premenopausal history of irregular menses and current biochemical evidence of hyperandrogenemia. Hyperandrogenemia was defined as the top quartile of androstenedione (≥701 pg/ml), testosterone (≥30.9 ng/dl), or free testosterone (≥4.5 pg/ml). Cox proportional hazard model was fit to estimate CV death or myocardial infarction (n = 55). Results: Women with clinical features of PCOS were more often diabetic (P < 0.0001), obese (P = 0.005), had the metabolic syndrome (P < 0.0001), and had more angiographic coronary artery disease (CAD) (P = 0.04) compared to women without clinical features of PCOS. Cumulative 5-yr CV event-free survival was 78.9% for women with clinical features of PCOS (n = 104) vs. 88.7% for women without clinical features of PCOS (n = 286) (P = 0.006). PCOS remained a significant predictor (P < 0.01) in prognostic models including diabetes, waist circumference, hypertension, and angiographic CAD as covariates. Conclusion: Among postmenopausal women evaluated for suspected ischemia, clinical features of PCOS are associated with more angiographic CAD and worsening CV event-free survival. Identification of postmenopausal women with clinical features of PCOS may provide an opportunity for risk factor intervention for the prevention of CAD and CV events. Copyright © 2008 by The Endocrine Society.
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    Author List

  • Shaw LJ; Merz CNB; Azziz R; Stanczyk FZ; Sopko G; Braunstein GD; Kelsey SF; Kip KE; Cooper-DeHoff RM; Johnson BD
  • Start Page

  • 1276
  • End Page

  • 1284
  • Volume

  • 93
  • Issue

  • 4